If 2006 was all about Facebook, and 2008 was the year of Twitter, then 2010 might reasonably be claimed by Foursquare and it’s not stopping in 2011.

Social media with location check-ins is a popular activity amongst young, urban, liberal technologists – the so called Twitterati, the self same ‘twinfluencers’ who made Twitter popular.

The three main location based social media outlets are MyCity, Gowalla and Foursquare. It’s the last of these – along with Facebook of course – that is emerging on top. With 2 million registered users, growing at over 15,000 every day, Foursquare is following a similar trajectory to Twitter a couple of years ago.

So what do you do on Foursquare?

Foursquare is a status update microblogging platform that lets you update friends on where you are. As a user you can ‘check-in’ to locations and receive badges for your efforts. You can also take a look at other places in your local area, and find out where your friends are,

What’s that got to do with business?

Location based services were worth just £50m this year, but this is set to grow to over £350m in the next two. As every business can claim a Foursquare location, it’s a huge opportunity for businesses to reach out onto social media and bring in new customers.

Here’s 8 steps to kick start your Foursquare campaign.

1. Download the App and register

The very first rule of social media is that you have to try and ‘get it’ yourself. You need to be able to understand how it works and work out what motivates people to use it. And the only way to do that is to roll up your sleeves and start using it yourself.

2. Add your business to foursquare

If it’s not on there already, make sure your business is on foursquare. Simply search for locations near where you are (when you’re at work). Find your business and check -in. Or ‘add a place’ to create your business listing.

3. Encourage your employees to check in

Part of what makes social media work is apparently active communities that others may want to get involved with. Ask your colleagues to use Foursquare, check-in to work, leave tips and create a buzz about the location.

4. Claim your business location

As a business owner you can claim a business location. You’ll need to do this from your PC.

Foursquare verify that you are the business owner by sending you a pin in the post.

5. Take a look at the analytics

As a business owner Foursquare give you intelligence about who has checked into your location, when they checked-in, and what activity is going nearby. You can use this to work out when you’re busy and when its quiet, indicators which shape when your social media activity might be right to kick off.

5. Build specials for your business

Incentivize customers to check-in to your location by creating ‘specials’ or rewards for those who do so. Mayor specials reward those users with the most check-ins. Frequency specials get people to come back again and again. And check-in offers get those first timers who might be checking in to locations nearby.

6. Special offers appear in nearby locations

If you have a check-in special, this appears as an orange flag to those users checking into locations nearby

These literally pull people from other places into yours – perfect for boosting footfall in a quiet time of the day.

7. Be a part of the community

As mentioned above, you need to be a part of this community in order to understand it and to reap the rewards. Leave tips for others, follow other people’s tips, comment and debate. Be active on Foursquare.

8. Add foursquare to your website & other social media

Make it clear to customers who visit your website or your other social media that you are active on Foursquare. Add a link to your Foursquare page, and give a clear indication of the check-in specials you will reward them with. The people most likely to adopt foursquare will be those already using your other social media. Use the relationship you already have with them to promote your Foursquare offering and get them to share it with others

9. Add foursquare to your offline marketing

Through leaflet, stickers, and badges, highlight your Foursquare activity to customers who you interact with offline. Promote foursquare in your shop or cafe. Add Foursquare to your poster and print ads. Give social media aficionados an extra reason to visit and check-in to your location.

That’s it

Foursquare is a popular and fast growing location based social media outlet. As a business owner you can use foursquare to boost footfall, sell more products, and foster a community.

Nick Leech runs Digital Marketing Agency Euston Digital



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